Saturday, February 4, 2012
A child bride, Sara Winchester had grown into a winsome beauty, joyfully anticipating the day when her husband Nathan, Marquess of St. James, would return to claim her heart at last. Charmingly innocent, she dismissed the ancient feud that divided Nathan's family from her own...and she was totally unaware of his past exploits as the notorious pirate, Pagan. The man who now stood before her was perplexing, arrogant and powerfully handsome...a warrior-gentleman whose gentle touch aroused her to the wildest, deepest pleasures of love.
Nathan had never bared his soul to any woman, but he was soon utterly beguiled and exasperated by Sara's sweet, defiant ways. Aboard his ship, The Seahawk, she was brave, imperious and determined to win his heart completely - yet upon their return to England, her love would be sorely tested as a vile conspiracy tried to tear them apart. With their future at stake, they would discover the true destiny of their passion...for all time!
I must say I really enjoyed this book, it was full of humor and Sara, the heroine, reminded me very much of Garwood's endearing medieval heroines who are adorably unaware of the havoc they wreak in their lord's castle, only here it's on board a ship - or a boat, as Sara keeps calling it, much to her husband's chagrin, for he is the captain of said "boat."
Set during Regency times, Sara and Nathan married at a very young age at the order of King George III (who was in his mad stage at the time) to bring their two feuding families together. She was four and he was fourteen. Fourteen years later with neither having anything to do with the other, they must consummate the marriage in order for Nathan to come into his inheritance. Her side of the family is full of villains who want to have the marriage annulled, except Sara is good-natured and eager to get away from them and to help save her aunt who has been held prisoner (long complicated story) by her evil uncle. One thing leads to another and Nathan, who has grown into a great big, beastly man with a scar, aims to find her and kidnap her. Bracing himself for the strong possibility she will be as ugly as sin (the women in her family are known for it), he is captivated and happily surprised by how beautiful his wife turned out to actually be. He follows her before absconding with her (and her aunt, who they rescue) on his ship to set sail for the Indies (and where her aunt has an island home.)
Once on board the ship, Sara has no idea who her husband really is - the notorious pirate, Pagan (we learn about him in the previous book in the series, Guardian Angel). There are many great moments throughout the book and as Sara and Nathan get to know one another as man and wife, (despite his seasickness and the fact she wants to get to know him first before sharing a bed) Sara manages to poison his entire crew and nearly destroys the ship itself with her parasols. Basically she scares all the men half to death, they're convinced she is cursed. But, eventually they come around and wind up loving her just as much as her stern captain does. One of my favorite scenes was when Sara misunderstands one of the crewmen, Jimbo and believes he's calling Nathan "daft" when he's really saying "aft" and then she makes him promise never to call the captain aft again. (Believe me it's funnier than it sounds!) Hero and heroine are great together. Between Sara's screwball logic and Nathan's exasperation, despite his passion for her (and there is the usual Garwood heat in this romance) it was a delightful read. I love these kinds of stories, I thought they only existed in her medievals, but how wrong I was!
This was a really fun book, with the usual drama towards the end as Nathan goes to loggerheads with Sara's father, who turns out to be just as much a villain as her uncle. A grand finale with the Prince Regent himself made for a very satisfying ending and another winner from Garwood!